Orthopedic injuries are common, and every year, researchers seek new ways to help heal these injuries so that people can avoid long-term disability or mobility problems. In recent years, much of that research and attention has focused on bone marrow aspirate concentrate (BMAC), a product derived from your own bone marrow.
Located in the center of bones, bone marrow is a rich source of stem cells, special cells that can “transform” into any other type of cell. BMAC contains more of these cells than platelet-rich plasma (PRP), making it a better option for many orthopedic injuries.
BMAC is extracted from your hip bone (the bony protuberance at the front of your hip) at the beginning of your treatment. It’s processed to separate the stem cells before being reinjected into the area of injury.
As a top-rated orthopedic specialist in McKinney, Texas, Dominique Nickson, MD, offers BMAC treatment for patients at Next Step Orthopedics who have specific types of injuries. Here’s when BMAC might be suitable for you.
1. Delayed union or nonunion of bone fractures
When a bone breaks, the ends of the broken bones need to “knit together” or fuse to restore the strength and function of the bone. Sometimes, though, this healing process is impaired, and the broken areas don’t fuse properly or don’t fuse at all.
BMAC contains stem cells that can differentiate into bone tissue. When used for fracture care, growth factors and other chemicals contribute to fusion and healing.
2. Cartilage defects
Cartilage is a smooth connective tissue that lines the surfaces of your joints and helps them move smoothly and without pain or friction. Sometimes, an injury like a fall or a degenerative disease can cause a cartilage defect — a localized area of cartilage damage. Cartilage doesn’t have a blood supply, so it’s very slow to heal — and sometimes, it doesn’t heal at all.
Because it contains stem cells that can “transform” into cartilage under the right circumstances, BMAC is often used to treat cartilage defects to stimulate new cartilage growth to repair the defective area.
Osteonecrosis means “bone death.” It’s a very serious condition when an area of bone doesn’t get enough blood.
Studies show BMAC improves bone healing in patients with osteonecrosis, especially osteonecrosis of the top of the thigh bone, where it forms the hip joint. Data show BMAC also slows disease progression in many people with osteonecrosis.
Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis, occurring when joint surfaces are damaged after years of wear and tear. As the protective layer of cartilage wears down, the joints become inflamed, increasing damage inside the joint.
BMAC is used in arthritis treatment to trigger the development of new cartilage inside the joint. Data show immune-system cells inside BMAC help reduce inflammation inside the joint too. Injections may help slow the progression of arthritis, too.
5. Tendon problems
Tendons are strong, fibrous bands that attach muscles to bones or other body components. They play a major role in joint movement and joint function.
Sometimes, repetitive joint use causes inflammation and tears in the tendon. For instance, some shoulder pain is caused by problems with the rotator cuff, a collection of tendons that support your shoulder and hold the joint in place.
BMAC has been widely used to treat tendon problems in the shoulder and in other joints. Once injected, the anti-inflammatory properties or BMAC help reduce inflammation in and around the tendon, while regenerative properties help repair the tendon damage.
Learn more about BMAC
Like many cutting-edge regenerative therapies, BMAC is a novel treatment still being studied. Researchers haven’t discovered all the potential capabilities and applications of BMAC, nor do they know how well it works in every patient.
Early data show BMAC has a lot of promise for healing degenerative diseases and musculoskeletal injuries in many women and men. If you’d like to learn if BMAC injections might be a good choice, call us at (972) 547-0047 or book an appointment online with Dr. Nickson and the team at Next Step Orthopedics today.